It was 1998 when Subaru made some crucial changes to its World Rally Championship Impreza, such as increasing the displacement of the turbocharged flat-four-cylinder engine from 2.0 to 2.2 liters and fitting wide fender flares. Subaru won the WRC manufacturer championship with the car that year, and it also was the year of the automaker's 40th anniversary. To celebrate the milestone, the company came out with this limited-edition, road-going Impreza, the hallowed 22B STI, which looked nearly identical to the rally car.

Only 424 22Bs were built, and most of them stayed in Japan. But Dominick Infante, national manager of product communications at Subaru of America, was able to secure a drive in one of the only two 22Bs in the US. He details the car's history and some of the design and engineering cues that made the Impreza STI so popular both in motorsport and on the street, but we were caught up listening to the exhaust and admiring the timeless blue-and-gold paint. You should too, so head below to watch the video.


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  • 36 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      superchan7
      • 1 Year Ago
      NSX, Skyline GT-R, limited edition STis and Evos. Japanese exotics at their best in the 1990s.
        Clifford Manera
        • 1 Year Ago
        @superchan7
        You forgot the RX7!
          MotionDesigner
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Clifford Manera
          Also throw in the 300ZX Twinturbo and Supra Turbo. Those were beasts for its time. Such a short-lived dynasty of Japanese sports cars.
        MotionDesigner
        • 1 Year Ago
        @superchan7
        They were/are all great sports cars, but I wouldn't call them exotics. Exotic cars are usually rare even in their own countries.
          PatrickH
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MotionDesigner
          How is only 424 built not rare to you?
          MotionDesigner
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MotionDesigner
          PatrickH, they built 424 "Limited Edition" models of an already existing mass-produced car. It's a great car no doubt, but to call it an exotic based on a trim level is really stretching the term IMO. If Honda decided to build a limited edition Mugen Civic and only 300 were built, would you really call that an exotic car?
      Kuro Houou
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only if Subaru could design cars as good looking as the 22b is today :(
      sp33dklz
      • 1 Year Ago
      I cried a little.... just a little.
      thenewrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sweet
      bullitt2605
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the best looking Subaru's ever produced.
      DyanRucar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Those wheels, if one can even find them, command a rather high dollar. A quick search online took me $3k...one day I'll get some for my legacy wagon!
      MotionDesigner
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where's Bunta smoking his cigarette?
      Peter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fact check: Mitsubishi won both WRC championships in 1998.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of my favorite cars of that era, too bad we didn't get the good ones as always.
      phatality
      • 1 Year Ago
      After hearing that the WRX was separating from the regular Impreza, I was seriously hoping that the new WRX would be a whole lot more like this car than it is. Instead, we seem to have got slightly different, if somewhat worse, looking version of the current Impreza. I'm still rather sad and confused by this. In any case, I think this is one of the best looking Subarus ever made.
      rsholland
      • 1 Year Ago
      No doubt the 22B was a great car, and it's questionable if the US-spec WRX and WRX STI would have ever occurred without this car leading the way. Having said that—and having owned six Subarus, two of which have been WRXs—I don't find that generation of Subaru Impreza to be that attractive. The 22B may be the best looking example (certainly the most butch) of that line, but that's not saying much. The new 2015 WRX is by far the best looking evolution of that model line.
        Jasonn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rsholland
        You sir are the minority here at Autoblog.
          MotionDesigner
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jasonn
          Maybe he is but I give more respect to someone who doesn't follow the herd like most people here on Autoblog, and isn't afraid to express his minority opinion in a non-combative or insulting manner. But I disagree with him as well. I think the 22B is definitely the best looking Impreza to date.
        bubba_roe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rsholland
        Id say the exact opposite. Mainly for all the ones we got in the states having 4doors. For door sports cars are just dumb.
          rsholland
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bubba_roe
          Dumb? 4-doors sell. 2-doors don't. Subarus in business to sell cars.
          bubba_roe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bubba_roe
          Four*
        ravingricefarmer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rsholland
        interesting, i find this to be the best looking chassis then 04-07 and the newer ones to be unattractive, especially the 07-11, i find these hideous, absolutely gut wrenching. sales number says otherwise i know, but i liked subarus for not being so toyota/honda.
        bubba_roe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rsholland
        Why would I care what sells? I dont buy things based off if they sell. I buy things based off if I like them or not.
          S.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bubba_roe
          Subaru's stockholders DO care how well their cars sell.
          PatrickH
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bubba_roe
          rsholland, could you please point me in the right direction to buy a turbocharged Subaru coupe? Don't worry I'll wait for you to find it for me. Thanks
          rsholland
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bubba_roe
          You may not care, but Subaru does. You want a 2-door Subaru, buy a BRZ.
        bubba_roe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rsholland
        And another thing, they always had 4door Impreza's anyway, so its not like they weren't selling cars because all they offered were 2doors. They always offered 4 doors, they just stopped selling 2doors probably to cut costs. Theyve never offered a 2door WRX here which is stupid. I wont buy a WRX or EVO because theyre 4doors.
          rsholland
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bubba_roe
          Well, if the WRX offered a 2-door I wouldn't buy it. Different strokes for different folks.
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